18 May 2017

Tanzania/Angola: Brave Serengeti Boys Face Angola Litmus Test

Photo: Daily News
Serengeti boys versus Mali during the ongoing Under-17 Africa Cup of Nations in Libreville, Gabon.

The national U-17 football team, Serengeti Boys, face another test of character when they take on Angola in their second match of the ongoing Under-17 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Libreville, Gabon.

The Serengeti Boys made their bow at the U-17 Africa Cup of Nations on Monday, settling for a barren draw with holders Mali in their Group B opener at the Stade de l'Amitie in Libreville.

Bakari Shime's side need to take maximum points from the Young Palancas Negras today to stand a good chance of making it to the semi-finals of the competition. A win will take their points tally to four points, the maximum that can be attained by any other team in the group after the first two rounds action.

The final group match will be against Niger, who played out a 2-2 draw with Angola in their opening match. The Boys are oozing with confidence after turning in an industrious performance against group favourites, Mali.

Shime's lads really gave a good account of themselves to hold the highly rated Eagles in their first ever game at the biggest stage. Shime sounded optimistic ahead of today's encounter against Angola and promised to go on the offensive.

"We are going to approach the match against Angola with all seriousness because there are no easy teams in this competition," said Shime. "We need to attack more in order to score goals and hopefully the boys will put up a brave performance as they did against Mali. We need to be more aggressive offensively but also stay cautious in defense in order to get a good result," he added.

The top four teams will qualify for the Under -17 Fifa World Cup in India in October which gives Shime and his Boys an extra incentive to do well.

Against Mali, Shime opted for a defensive approach and succeeded to shut out Mali's attacking players throughout the encounter with goalkeeper Ramadhan Kabwili and his defenders turning in a strong show.

But today, the Boys tactician must ensure his charges go on the offensive to try and garner a vital win in their pursuit of a last-four berth. Striker Yohana Mkomola was starved of services against Mali and will need more support upfront to give Serengeti Boys the much needed cutting edge.

In the other Group B match today, holders Mali will square up against Niger at the same venue in Brazzaville. The biennial international youth football tournament organised by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) for players aged 17 and below, will see the top four teams qualify for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup in India.

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